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L.A. Hospital Transplants Wrong Kidney Into Patient

In the catalog of medical mistakes that are supposed to never ever happen, transplanting the wrong organ into someone has got to be pretty close to the top of the list.

Unfortunately, USC University Hospital in Los Angeles concedes it made that error last month when a patient got the wrong kidney, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The f irst reports only said the hospital had found a "process error" and that it was shutting down its transplant program while taking action to correct the problem. The hospital's statement said no patient had been hurt.

Later, it emerged that a patient had received a kidney that wasn't the right match. According to the Times, USC said the patient is OK because the match, though wrong, was close enough not to pose a big problem.

The mistake appears to have been happened when two kidneys from different donors got mixed up, the Times wrote. An executive at the organ procurement group OneLegacy, which supplied the kidneys, said the organs were labeled properly and that the error appeared to be a human one at the transplant center.

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Scott Hensley edits stories about health, biomedical research and pharmaceuticals for NPR's Science desk. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he has led the desk's reporting on the development of vaccines against the coronavirus.